## Code breaking

Post anything (SFW) you desire.

### Code breaking

I posted this on mathfail but will post it here too.

The FBI has released two notes in code that relate to the murder case of Ricky McCormick from 1999. McCormick had been murdered and his body was dumped in a field. The only clues were the two encrypted notes below that were found in the victim's pockets. Despite several experts working on the code (including linguists, computer scientists and mathematicians) the code has still not been broken.

According to the FBI news story:
"McCormick was a high school dropout, but he was able to read and write and was said to be "street smart." According to members of his family, McCormick had used such encrypted notes since he was a boy, but apparently no one in his family knows how to decipher the codes, and it's unknown whether anyone besides McCormick could translate his secret language. Investigators believe the notes in McCormick's pockets were written up to three days before his death."

Any thoughts or ideas?

Math - It's in you to give.

SpikedMath

Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:31 am

### Re: Code breaking

1. count the occurence of all letters
2. look up a list for the most common letters in the english language
3. assign them to the most common letter in this text (due to probability, you now have 3-4 different translations)
4. (optional) look for word which can be found often (for example "I, am, here")
5. brute force

I don't think this will work, because if the fbi had it, then they would most certainly have done something similar by now.
Q.E.D. , or not?
Zapp
University

Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:49 pm

### Re: Code breaking

Some people claim to have a formula so that in the second image the first box is an address that corresponds to McCormick.

It's definitely not as easy as doing a crypto puzzle, since you have to combine pairs of letters and such to break the above code.
Math - It's in you to give.

SpikedMath

Posts: 133
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:31 am

### Re: Code breaking

Zapp wrote:1. count the occurence of all letters
2. look up a list for the most common letters in the english language
3. assign them to the most common letter in this text (due to probability, you now have 3-4 different translations)
4. (optional) look for word which can be found often (for example "I, am, here")
5. brute force

I don't think this will work, because if the fbi had it, then they would most certainly have done something similar by now.

Probably not going to work. The above method assumes that it is a simple substitution cypher, and that each unique letter in the cyphertext represents a single unique letter in the plaintext. In reality, there are all kinds of things that could have been done. Perhaps this cypher is nothing more than a quirky shorthand. Or maybe it was encrypted using a one time pad (good luck decrypting it). I'm inclined to believe that there just isn't enough known about the cypher to be able to do anything useful with it.

xander

xander
University

Posts: 154
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Location: Sparks, NV, USA